i Editor's Letter: A little leeway

 

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The Independent Online

 

Readers have given me gyp about my joke the other day. Not the punchline about biscuits, more the use of the word "sat" as in "a banker, MP, [etc] are sat around a table". Now, fond as we are of our i reader family, you can be a touch pedantic. There has to be a little leeway in different sections of the paper. This was a) a joke, and b) one told in a column.

It was originally a joke told in a Northern vernacular. I added the definitive articles that were not present, but didn't want to lose the spirit of the telling. We knew "sat" was technically incorrect, but it was clearly being used in an idiomatic manner, and in a space (this letter) which is invariably chatty. We would never have run it like that (knowingly) in a news story. If all our jokes had to be GC (grammatically correct) as well as PC, then much of the best humour for which our nation is rightly known would never have been written. And, you know the rule about explaining jokes!

This matters a great deal to me today, because as you read these words, I will be visiting a south-east London comprehensive that buys 600 i copies on Wednesdays. I've been invited to see how pupils use i in their discussion periods, and to talk about journalism. I am really looking forward to it, and will tell you all tomorrow.

Talking of lovely i readers, we were inundated with people who wanted to appear in our next TV commercial. Thank you to all who applied, and your kind words about the paper. I am sorry there can only be one winner: "avid" i reader Ruya Niazi, who wrote an eloquent paragraph arguing her case, is our chosen advocate. I look forward to meeting Ruya at the shoot this Friday.

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